Oh Summer

Sun. Heat. Cold drinks. Swimming.

I LOVE SUMMER!!! I especially love it when it means taking a 4-day weekend and hiding out at the boy’s cabin. I have my best sleeps there, and I get to just lay out in the sun all day and do whatever my little heart pleases. This weekend, that meant beach volleyball, water skiing, paddle boarding and catching a few rays. It also meant a lot of family time since J.Hill’s family all own cabins about 3 seconds from each other.

Hard life, right?

I especially loved that I FINALLY got to go waterskiing for the very first time in my life. Yep, how I have never attempted this sport before also boggles my mind. For some odd reason I was majorly nervous, like about to race a 1500m nervous. Jackson kept telling me I would do fine but all I could think of was “you better be able to get up on those skis, you don’t want to look like a loser (I had just watched J.Hill’s dad and sister rock out on the water)”. After a few try’s and some hilarious falls, I finally managed to get up and get in a couple of tiny loops. How was my form? TERRIBLE. Did I love every second of it? Absolutely.

Almost there….

Yep, best form ever!

After an intense match of beach volleyball (maybe my new favorite activity), and some a ride on the Sea Doo to go visit the pelicans, I also tried paddle boarding. People swear paddle board is the best workout ever. Personally, I just found it very relaxing (until a giant spider made its way up my leg).

Hope everyone is enjoying their last few weeks of summer!

Steph xox

When Toast Simply Won’t Do

Breakfast is my absolute favorite. I am always famished in the A.M and breakfast food is always so tasty…but can also be quite repetitive. I have never been a cereal person (unless its for a snack) and my self-diagnosed ADD means I get bored of eating the same thing for extended periods of time. So although I adore toast slathered with almond butter (I’m French, bread is a necessary part of life), some mornings require something a tad more exciting and flavorful…baked oatmeal.

Over the years, I have tried and tried to like oatmeal. Love the stuff in muffins and cookies (no one can say no to an oatmeal/chocolate chip cookie) but hate hate hate it in its traditional slimy breakfast form. I can get myself to eat alot of things that are “not so tasty” in the name of health but oatmeal is a definite no-no, so when I found a baked oatmeal recipe online that promised to taste like heaven and not be gooey I fell in love…hard!

I made this piece of heaven for the tenth time last night and decided I just had to share it…everyone should be able to have a baked oatmeal moment.

(Found multiple recipes online and incorporated bits and pieces of each to make my own).

FRUITY BAKED OATMEAL

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup and some of uncooked quick oats
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of baking powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Chia Seeds
  • Hemp Hearts
  • 1.5/2 bananas thinly sliced
  • Approx. 6-10 thinly sliced strawberries (or any other fruit)
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • Agave nectar or maple syrup or honey
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Chopped nuts (I usually use almonds)

1. Spray a baking baking dish with Pam or any other oil and preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Place sliced bananas and half of sliced strawberries in pan and then drizzle with some agave nectar (or preferred sweetener) and cinnamon (I never measure the sweetener or cinnamon, big fan of the “eyeball” method).

3. Bake, covered with aluminium foil, for 15 minutes

4. Combine oats, more cinnamon, chia seeds, hemp hearts, baking powder and your choice of nuts in one bowl. In another, whisk almond milk with the egg, vanilla extract and some more sweetener if you desire.

5. Once banana/strawberry dish is out, pour dry mixture over top (as evenly as possible) followed by the wet mixture (make sure all oats are covered, use more almond milk if necessary).Place the remaining strawberries on top with any other fruit you wish to add (I chose blueberries) and more chopped nuts. Bake, uncovered for 30-40mins.

6. Let cool, drizzle with maple syrup (extra points if its from Quebec) and enjoy!

I promise you will love me, and the smell of your house as its baking.

Steph

Student. Graduate. Worker bee.

Although my last post was not even a month ago, it is unbelievable how much has happened. For one, I FINALLY graduated. Yep, I can now add a few letters after my name. Grad day (make that grad week) was sooo much fun. Having most of my family here, and celebrating it with my 2 best friends made it quite a special affair. It was so nice to achieve this milestone together and to be able to be so proud of one another. I feel absolutely blessed to have developed such a great friendship with Suz and Andy over the course of 6 years and this moment can be added to the list of our crazy conversations when we are old and senile.

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Although graduation is crazy exciting and I honestly would have almost died if I had to go to school for one more year, part of me was also scared. My main concern (apart from walking across the stage in heels) were the inevitable changes that come once you are no longer a student. Goodbye not worrying about health/dental benefits (yep, you eventually have to be taken off your parents plan!) and hello paying for my own groceries and everything else I want need.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about finding a job. Not only did I secure a job before I left for Europe, I managed to get a job I enjoy and don’t dread going to everyday. Having speed skated for 16 years, being able to work in my “second home”, the Olympic Oval, is motivating and inspiring. I get to be part of a team that strives to make dreams come true. Can it get any better?

Thank you to everyone who helped make my big day a special one. Present or not, I was definitely feeling the love!

SB

Euro Trip 2012: What I Loved, Disliked and the Highlights

I have been back from Europe since Saturday. I have been battling jet lag ever since, which I don’t really mind since I have been enjoying the early mornings. All the running I planned on doing hasn’t really happened because of the constant rain and cold weather (I’m a baby, I hate rainy runs). Anywho, thought I would wrap up the travel blog by writing about what I loved about Spain/Paris, the highlights, and what I didn’t really enjoy.

LOVE

  • The overall attitude of Spaniards: calm, cool and collected. No one is ever in a hurry and stress doesn’t even seem to exist, even though the country is dealing with increasingly scary unemployment rates. Don’t go to a restaurant wanting to have a quick meal, it won’t happen.
  • The pastries and ice cream: how I didn’t see more fat people (that weren’t tourists) still boggles my mind. Bakeries and ice cream shops are on EVERY street. Bread (white baguettes) is eaten with every single meal and dessert is considered an essential part of lunch and dinner. Even Starbucks offers beautiful pieces of cake and pie and whatever other sugar creation.

Starbucks in Paris

  • The transportation system: The Metro and buses are fabulous. Never had a problem going anywhere and it seemed the bigger the city got, the better it was. Taxis are definitely not needed. Even Paris offered a special bus (with direct service!) that went to the airport, equipped with suitcase shelves. Tickets were 10E compared tot he 70E a taxi would cost.
  • The people: Every server, seller or whatever we dealt with was wonderful (except for one mean guy in Paris) and always very helpful. The idea that Parisians are snobs? I can’t agree with that, we had such great service while in Paris and every single person we met was great.
  • Grocery shopping: I adored grocery shopping, so fun to see the different things that exist there that we don’t have in Canada. Plus its so nice how people go to the bakery for bread, fruit/veggie market for produce and butcher for meat. Once again, never in a hurry.

DISLIKE

  • Cost of peeing: yep, you don’t get to pee for free. Public washroom “officials” will make you pay .50E and even some restaurants that you have paid to eat at will charge you to use the washrooms. ANNOYING! I actually hated this with a passion. What’s a girl with a small bladder who drinks gallons of water/day supposed to do?
  • Showers: TINY. Holy moly, no wonder no one is fat. They actually wouldn’t fit in the showers. They are so small it is a challenge to just wash your hair or turn around.
  • Food: As much as I adored the food, it was often a challenge to find restaurants that offered vegetarian or healthy options. Often the only meatless dish is a plain salad with only lettuce and tomatoes, not really a fun option. Cheese pizza was often my only choice (very yummy but defs not healthy). It did become easier in Paris.
  • Food poisoning: not fun. I thought bringing pepto tablets was good enough. Well those will do nothing when food poisoning decides to visit. Apparently I’m the only one in the world to not know about a prescription you can get from your doctor before a trip that saves your stomach in times of distress.

Best pizza of the trip. Arugula is my bestie.

Highlights

  • VERSAILLES: beautiful, grandiose, breathtaking. I adored visiting the palace and the gardens. A must!

Palace of Versailles

  • Barcelona runs: Going for morning runs in Barcelona will be a favorite memory for a long time. So beautiful and exhilarating.
  • Cheap food: I mean, you could get a glass of wine at a really nice restaurant for only 1.80E.
  • Nighttime: Anything that is beautiful during the day is even better at night. Barcelona’s magic fountain, Paris’ Eiffel Tower and Seine cruise, Seville’s cathedral.

Eiffel Tower

Back to Calgary tomorrow. University grad in a few days. “Real life job” starts in 2 weeks.

SB xox

The Islands and a Cruise Down the River

Bonjour!

Paris was finally nice to us and gave us a nice day yesterday. It wasn’t sunny or warm but I was so happy not to be wearing my rain jacket. We set out for the islands yesterday so we could see Notre Dame de Paris and the other attractions close by. The islands are really cute and fun to navigate. Lots of cafés, restaurants and street sellers (which actually had really cool and pretty stuff for amazing prices). Notre Dame de Paris was truly beautiful and FREE! From there we navigated the streets in search of lunch and after experiencing a few heart attacks when looking at the prices on certain menus (the “Palais de Justice” was nearby, lawyers and judges=money) we found this quaint, completely authentic Italian restaurant with really good prices. We both started with the minestrone soup (which was big enough to be a full meal) and then I had a margarita pizza and dad the lasagna. Pizza was sooo great (only ate half since I was stuffed from the soup) and I really loved the restaurant, everyone is seated close by and max 20-25 people can be in there at once.

Notre Dame de Paris

One of the things I had set out to do before even beginning the trip was trying ice cream at Berthillon’s (located on Ile St.Louis) since everyone says it delicious and all travel books tell you to go since they only use natural ingredients. Well, you can just imagine my excitement yesterday when I knew the time had come…..complete fail, place is only open wed-sun. Major sadness. At least we found a café close by that sold the ice-cream (it was fantastic..had dark chocolate and coconut).

After spending the afternoon walking around we went for dinner at around 8 to some Belgian place which was tasty (grilled salmon was my choice) and then set off for the Eiffel Tower once more since we got rained out on our first try. I love the thing. Every hour the lights flash and its quite a sight. We then decided to take a cruise along the Seine River (tons of companies offer cruises like this, we chose one where you could sit on top so we could see clearly). Very cool activity and prices were decent, I think it was 11.50 per person.

We visited the Montmartre area today and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. Had a wonderful peach crepe for lunch. We of course went to see the iconic Moulin Rouge brasserie and then walked home instead of hopping on the metro since it was so nice and my legs were feeling up for some exercise. I have truly been enjoying Europe and its delicacies but I can tell my body is demanding its regular routing of exercise and healthy foods (I’ve even sent my mom a list of foods I MUST have when I return on Saturday, ie. greek yogurt, berries, smoothie recipes).

Versailles is on the menu tomorrow (I am quite excited for this adventure).

Bonne Journée!

SB xox

 

La pluie a Paris

Went to admire the Eiffel Tower last night. Left at around 8 and chose to walk since its only 15-20mins away and right along the river. Our goal was too see it illuminated when the sun went down. Took forever for the sun to set, and when it finally did….RAIN! I had brought an umbrella in preparation (I always look at the weather forecast) and told dad to bring his rain jacket (which he did not). We did get to admire the tower but decided to return another night for further viewing when it began pouring. I giggled the entire way home watching dad get drenched in the rain.

Concorde and L’Arche de Triomphe

On our walk to the Eiffel Tower

Woke up to more rain which meant a visit to Les Galleries Lafayette (7 floor department store with mostly designer clothing and a few more affordable brands for people like moi). Quite a cool place actually, and colored dome ceiling is beautiful. Retail therapy was a success, bought a couple things for myself and some gifts for the maman and sister (that’s right, shower me with love when I return ladies!). Had lunch at their self-serve restaurant area which I thoroughly enjoyed since healthy options were available (I had a veggie soup and couscous salad). We later went for coffee and tea further down the road and I couldn’t resist ordering a nutella crepe, since I had been wanting a crepe for 3 days.

Once we finished shopping we went to the ‘detax’ area where you give your receipts, show your passport and they give you a form so you can send it in to get the money you spent on taxes back, youppi!

Ventured off the Champs D’Élysées for supper and ended up at a Japanese place. Had some delightful sushi and miso soup and even got dad to try a piece of my salmon maki (he had ordered beef and dumplings). He didn’t love the nori but didn’t say ti was terrible which is a good first try! Walked to the Arche de Triomphe afterwards to see it illuminated (beautiful) then decided to call it a night. We had bought “macarons” today while we were out shopping and I tried a chocolate praline one tonight, soooooo good. Good thing I was sick last week, needed to make room for all the sugar Paris is “making” me eat.

We are visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral and the surrounding attractions tomorrow on the islands (conveniently where the famous Berthillon ice cream store is located).

SB xox

Photos from Barcelona and an update from Paris

At the Sports Museum!

MACBA Museum

Pretty much right outside our apartment!

Sagrada Familia

Gaudi’s “La Pedrera”

Found this gem of a statue while wandering the streets

Hope you enjoy the photos!

Went to the Louvre this morning expecting to have to wait an insane amount of time since it was rainy and a Sunday but barely waited at all. Trying to see the Mona Lisa is bananas, I got so sick of people cutting in front of me and shoving me that I finally snapped at one lady and told her to wait in line like the rest of us! The art was impressive but I am so not a connoisseur that I’m sure I did not appreciate it as much as I should have. The gardens thats lead to the Louvre from Les Champs D’Élysées Avenue are beyond beautiful. Pristine walkway and beautiful buildings and gardens. Going to stroll down to the Eiffel Tower once dad wakes up from his nap (what an oldie) to see it all lit up. Had way too much ice cream at the Haagen Daz restaurant so the walk to the tower is definitely required\needed. Apartment is Paris is perfectly situated (right off Ave. Montaigne, ie. Designer street, and 2mins away from the Champs D’Élysées). Walking around these streets everyday has made me feel like a total slob, everyone is decked out in designer gear, heels or so well put together.

À bientôt!

SB xox